Call for papers: Reshaping Bodywork and Body Meanings to include Marginalized Groups: Theoretical Concepts, Practices, and New Frontiers to Fight Inequalities in Organizations

2024-07-03

Reshaping Bodywork and Body Meanings to include Marginalized Groups: Theoretical Concepts, Practices, and New Frontiers to Fight Inequalities in Organizations

 

Greta Brizio, Catholic University of Milan - gretaelisabetta.brizio@unicatt.it

Chiara Paolino, Catholic University of Milan - chiara.paolino@unicatt.it

Vanessa Pouthier, The University of Melbourne - vanessa.pouthier@unimelb.edu.au

 

In contemporary times, the issue of diversity and inclusion is particularly crucial due to the natural aging of the general population and the consequent increase in chronic diseases, the multiculturalism of civil society and the labor market, and the multidimensional aspect of personal and professional identity in general, which affects any individual, their social relationships, and their environment (Holvino et al., 2004; O’Donovan, 2018).

Despite growing attention and sensitivity from the mass media, the labor market, and the political debate about inclusion, there are still many cultural, physical, mental, and architectural barriers and micro and macro discriminations in organizations, from the experience of the workplace to education and healthcare services (Zanoni et al., 2010; Pullen et al., 2017).

The body has fundamental relevance in the dynamic of exclusion/inclusion, mostly in strongly formalized environments where the classical model is represented by the stereotype of a man as white, healthy, and heteronormative (Fotaki and Harding, 2017). The body is the bridge through which the human being can interface with the universe and other human beings; it allows us to live experiences and build memories and emotions (Duby and Barker, 2017).

Research has revealed how this phenomenological vision of the body can increase the capability to embrace one's own and others' vulnerabilities, permitting the identification and acceptance of differences and the unknown. Pouthier and Sondak (2021) have highlighted how the shared fruition of artwork has generated the exchange of lived experiences and personal emotions among colleagues, allowing the construction of an empathic and affective climate.

Due to the growing importance of experiences, memories, knowledge, sensations, and emotions, ethnography and narrative interviews have assumed a privileged role in the investigation of spaces of inclusion/exclusion and integration/marginalization of minorities, also from an intersectional perspective (Gherardi, 2019; Heizmann and Liu, 2022). This Merleau-Ponty approach is in opposition to the traditional Cartesian duality of body/mind, which describes the body as a device that must be efficient, strong, and good-looking, following an ableist archetype of the perfect man (Twigg et al., 2011; Shildrick, 2005; Mandalaki and Pérezts, 2020).

The societal and mediatic representation of perfect, unreal, and performative models generates in every person, especially women, a sense of internalized ableism, inadequacy, and frustration (Gill, 2007).

 

We welcome submissions related but not limited to:

  • How the body and its evocative power shape human encounters, especially with minority groups in organizations.
  • How sharing embodied experiences and knowledge can create new spaces of exclusion/inclusion in the workplace.
  • How ableism (and internalized ableism) can lead to discrimination and marginalization in organizations.
  • How mediatic and social pressures influence body-based stigmatization processes in organizations.

 

We will be delighted to accept theoretical and empirical contributions that adopt different theoretical perspectives, valuing the multidisciplinary vocation of the journal.

We are also interested in papers that employ diverse epistemological positions and we encourage the adoption of innovative methods and novel data.

 

Duby, M., & Barker, P. A. (2017). Deterritorialising the research space: Artistic research, embodied knowledge, and the academy. Sage Open, 7(4), 2158244017737130.

Fotaki, M., & Harding, N. (2017). Gender and the Organization: Women at Work in the 21st Century. Routledge.

Gherardi, S. (2019). Theorizing affective ethnography for organization studies. Organization, 26(6), 741-760.

Gill, R. (2007). Postfeminist media culture: Elements of a sensibility. European journal of cultural studies, 10(2), 147-166.

Heizmann, H., & Liu, H. (2022). “Bloody Wonder Woman!”: Identity performances of elite women entrepreneurs on Instagram. Human Relations, 75(3), 411-440.

Holvino, E., Ferdman, B. M., & Merrill-Sands, D. (2004). Creating and sustaining diversity and inclusion in organizations: Strategies and approaches.

Mandalaki, E., & Pérezts, M. (2023). Abjection overruled! Time to dismantle sexist cyberbullying in academia. Organization, 30(1), 168-180.

O’Donovan, D. (2018). Diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Organizational behaviour and human resource management: A guide to a specialized MBA course, 73-108.

Pouthier, V., & Sondak, H. (2021). When shame meets love: Affective pathways to freedom from injurious bodily norms in the workplace. Organization Studies, 42(3), 385-406.

Pullen, A., Rhodes, C., & Thanem, T. (2017). Affective politics in gendered organizations: Affirmative notes on becoming-woman. Organization, 24(1), 105-123.

Shildrick, M. (2005). The disabled body, genealogy and undecidability. Cultural studies, 19(6), 755-770.

Twigg, J., Wolkowitz, C., Cohen, R. L., & Nettleton, S. (2011). Conceptualising body work in health and social care. Sociology of health & illness, 33(2), 171-188.

Zanoni, P., Janssens, M., Benschop, Y., & Nkomo, S. (2010). Guest editorial: Unpacking diversity, grasping inequality: Rethinking difference through critical perspectives. Organization, 17(1), 9-29.

 

Deadline for full paper submission: 30 September 2025